Sharpening Wood Lathe Tools

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Using a wood lathe machine requires proper tools, and properly taking care of those tools is vital for producing good quality work. Keeping the lathe tools sharpened is one way to properly care for them, but knowing how to sharpen them is important. Some tools are sharpened on both sides of the blade and some have only one sharp side. If you want the best results from your wood lathe tools, read through the following steps to learn how to properly sharpen them.


Step 1

Purchase a tool grinder, preferably 3500 rpm. Mount it securely to a stand, and fill the base with 25 lbs. of sand to absorb the vibration.

Step 2

Replace the manufacturer's abrasive wheel with a soft bond wheel made from 60 grit aluminum oxide. Grinder wheels can be purchased from a wood lathe supplier.

Step 3

Cleaning and rounding the grinder wheel is important for maximum tool sharpness. Diamond dressers for rounding and star dressers for cleaning can also be purchased from wood lathe suppliers.

Step 4

Grind a gouge tool straight across by setting the tool at a 45-degree angle up against the stone. Once the tool is in place, turn on the grinder and move the tool back and forth against the grinder as it turns.

Step 5

Sharpen a spindle gouge by setting the tool at a 60-degree angle. Move the tool back and forth over the grinder as it turns. A bowl gouge is sharpened at a 70-degree angle, and an oland tool is sharpened at a 45-degree angle.

Step 6

Using a 1000 grit sanding stone, sharpen parting tools, skews and scrapers by hand. These all have simple straight edges that are easy to sharpen with a hand stone. Move the edge back and forth over the stone until the tool is sharp.

Tips and Warnings

Once you become familiar with grinding, using a grinder is by far the easiest method for sharpening wood lathe tools. Just be careful as the machine can be dangerous if it is not properly used. Do not try to sharpen your lathe tools with honing stones or sandpaper. These methods will not work.

Things You'll Need

Grinder, Stand sand, Soft bond wheel, Diamond dresser, Star dresser, Gouge, Spindle gouge, Bowl gouge, Skews, Parting tools, Scrapers

About this Author

Lacy Enderson received an AA Degree in Behavioral Science and a BS Degree in Religion/Psychology. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want To Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her articles have appeared in Discipleship Journal and

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